- By trade I am a journalist with a background in current affairs, culture, health and fitness, travel and high profile interviews. I also own and run an outdoor fitness business aimed at people that hate gyms and bootcamps (www.spartanfitnesslondon.co.uk). Most importantly though, I am on Shared Parental Leave from May 31 to October 3. Everyday from 0730 to 1800 I will be in sole charge of a real and completely awesome baby girl.
Sunday, 16 April 2017
Day Two – Cementibix, Squeezing Pins and Perks of the Job
THE day began with me beaming with pride, not because my darling had hit some sort of milestone like flipping from her back to her front (which she cannot do) or because I'd been accepted on the list for Baby Sensory, but because I had found time to have a full wash. While the Lady rested her eyes for a whole extra 15 minutes I launched myself into the shower and used at least two squeezes of body-silk shower gel – luxury. I reckon I washed at least 3mm of mould from skin. Ding Ding it was going to be a good day.
At the close of play on Day One I had arranged that I would drive from London to Brighton to meet my parents at a caravan site they were staying at. Very exciting indeed. From past experience of packing several suitcases to venture to the shops across the road I was aware of the logistical obstacles that I needed to conquer in order to escape to the seaside... but I was willing to try my luck. The famous "change bag" was pre-loaded with the mandatory EIGHT nappies, feeding materials, numerous changes of clothes, backup toys/distraction devices and various tactical items such as nail clippers and drugs (Calpol – seal yet to be broken). I'm yet to find an umbrella with a parrot on the end, but I have suspicions that this bottomless Red Longchamp carrier has been stolen from Mary Poppins. So, the bag was packed; the buggy was ready to load into the car (more to add on this in a later post on KIT); a duffle bag with outdoor baby rugs was prepared and I had a chair packed for me (I'm not standing while the little chump sits there being waited on!). I was all set. Now to feed the fat-legged smiler.
It was not to be a gourmet breakfast... sorry about that A-bomb but we had places to be. There were the standard ice-cream cone bananas to start and one Weetabix covered with a bit of milk. Never fear... I'm not handing actual ice-cream to the baby, I just leave the banana skin on with the fruit poking out of the top – better grip for little hands (not my idea, the idea of a very good book that I will credit another time). Last time I offered up Weetabix I didn't add enough milk and it was like watching a toothless pensioner try to eat a piece of crumbly concrete, so in my wisdom I added more milk. "I'll add enough milk to lubricate the food but not too much so that she can still hold it," I thought, sagely. I don't own a buzzer like they have on quiz shows for when a contestant gets things wrong, but if I did it would have sounded at the end of that thought. EEE-ORRR. In the 2 seconds it took for me to spoon some porridge into my own mouth Alexa had created a ball of the cereal matter in her shovel hands and smeared it all over her face, into her hair and into her ears. It was like some sort of sick dirty protest. Although, I think she ate a bit of it (huzzah). As connoisseurs of Weetabix will know, once dried on any surface it becomes Cementibix and takes some serious wire-brush scrubbing to remove it. Apparently it's not acceptable to wire-brush your kid's face while hosing them down with a pressure washer. While I toiled away with a wimpy wet wipe I saw my baby's face say "how's your early leave to Brighton going, bucko?”. Whatever.
Ahead of jumping in the car I was right to suspect that a sneaky turd had been laid. Being the caring parent I am I decided to change M'lady instead of letting her sink into the car seat with sewage rising up and out of her collar as the journey progressed. I'm a good guy. I'm always a keen inspector of the faeces on show as it’s an excellent indicator of what food has been eaten and how well the baby/human is. This was textbook stuff – medium size, mustard, seeded. First class. While wiping up I realised that I was singing "The seeded poo do what you don't dare do" to the tune of Prodigy's Voodoo People. That was a new one. Adaptations of songs feature heavily throughout days but that’s for another post.
She slept for 1.5 hours to Brighton. Ideal as the journey was during her morning nap time. Well planned me.
In Brighton, the lady beamed at Nanny and Granddad for a number of minutes. They hadn't even put on a show. Just sitting there, being nice to her, getting easy laughs. Out of order.
It was at this point that I made an interesting comment about the good amount of storage space in the new caravan. Everyone nodded. I opened one of the many drawers and saw what I assumed was a baby toy. I can only assume that all parents, especially when in charge of 0-3-year-olds test out any new plaything/gadget to see what it offers... is it a shaker, does it rattle, does it squeak etc. My first test is always for a squeak. Naturally I squeezed the toy from the drawer. It looked like a squashy person with a smiley face wearing an apron. Guess what? It wasn't a toy, it was a pin-cushion, full of pins. "Oh that's a pin cushion, from your Auntie," my mother helpfully pointed out after I had crushed a number of mini spears into my palm. "Oh yeh, that's nice," I replied calmly. "I thought it was a toy – I was checking for the squeakaaaaaaaaaah".
We strolled down to the marina for some lunch. Lovely. For what it's worth Brighton is very hilly and rather than using cars, motorbikes or your legs, I'd suggest the best mode of transport is by kite land-board – the place is like a wind-tunnel. No big deal but the buggy was nearly airborne a few times, with my Mum on the end of it. Well held!
Back at the caravan, with the windows and doors sealed, an awful stench filled the sealed container. It caused a reaction of debilitation that I'd imagine people might have when under chemical attack. "Blimey, Alexa must need changing again," my Dad exclaimed. "Yeh, seems like it!" I said. I knew she didn't. I knew where the toxic smell had come from. Sometimes the perks of being a Dad have to be taken.
And then we went home.